You hear about it every year: "Some good fantasy baseball sleepers for this year are..."
Sometimes they are wrong, while other times they are right. This year is no exception.
On draft day, fantasy baseball owners will grab who they believe to be the next great sleepers with the same thought in mind: There is nothing more exciting then grabbing an elite player in the later rounds.
So here are five players that could be the next diamond in the rough (All average draft positions according to ESPN.).
Chris Davis, 1B, Texas, ADP: 143.5
We all know the story when it comes to Chris Davis. He strikes out too much, won't put up a good average, and has a top prospect waiting right behind him on the organizational depth chart waiting for him to fail.
I feel Davis will have a huge year. I think his production could be similar to Ryan Howard, especially in a Texas lineup that is absolutely stacked.
People forget that just two seasons ago he hit 17 home runs in only 295 at-bats. His power is undeniable, but so are the strikeouts he racks up.
He knows his job is on the line and will perform because of it. Draft him in the 14th round for upside that could make him a top 20 fantasy player in 2010.
Lastings Milledge, OF, Pittsburgh, ADP: 205.6
Milledge has always had a big ego. With the talent he possesses, I can't really say I blame him, but if he doesn't put it together at the big league level this season he may never get another chance. And he knows that.
So now that Milledge has finally realized that he can no longer get by on talent alone his work ethic should improve and he may finally reach the potential that we all knew he had when he entered the league. Whether he does or not is up to him, but in Round 20 I'm willing to take a chance on a guy who has a legit shot at a 30-30 season.
Kyle Blanks, OF, San Diego, ADP: 229.5
Much like Chris Davis, Blanks could bring big time power to the table.
Last season Blanks hit a home run once every 14.8 ABs, just 2.7 more then Albert Pujols.
Not only that, but it is a feat that Blanks could very well duplicate or even improve on next season. The kind of raw power he possesses is rivaled by few, if any, major leaguers.
So now you're probably thinking, how bad is his average?
Well, the answer is not that bad. He hit a very respectable .304 in four minor league seasons. While that average is likely to take a dip at the major league level, .285 is definitely not out of reach. Watch for Blanks to burst onto the scene this season.
Chris B. Young, OF, Arizona, ADP: 214.9
Young is way undervalued in drafts this season because of a disappointing 2009 campaign. He could be a huge sleeper this year.
While he has never bolstered a high batting average, Young has always offered a dangerous homer-steal combo.
In his rookie season, Young stole 27 bases, not to be outdone by his 32 homers that same season.
He showed his rookie season was no fluke with a strong season the following year which included 22 homers, 14 steals, 85 RBI, 85 runs scored and a respectable .248 batting average.
Then he fell completely off the radar with a terrible 2009 season. Expect Young to put up numbers that duplicate his sophomore season which from a 21st round pick would be more then anybody could hope.
Scott Kazmir, SP, Angels, ADP: 177.1
Kazmir was considered one of baseball's elite starting pitchers just a season ago.
After putting up dreadful numbers in Tampa Bay last season, Kazmir rebounded in a big way for the Angels. In six starts he kept an ERA below 1.75.
Kazmir is the 43rd starting pitcher off the board on average in ESPN drafts. He is much better than the 43rd best starting pitcher in fantasy and real baseball.
Plus, owners love his high strikeout rates. The only red flag some owners have with Kazmir is his health, but what people don't realize is that he has never started less then 26 games in a season throughout his career.
Take him in round 17 and thank the fantasy baseball gods for letting him stay on the boards for so long.
Look for these guys late in the draft and never look back, because if you do you just might win your league.